Commercial truck drivers have increasing pressures on them to maintain a strict schedule. With the increase in shipping needs of consumers, trucks have felt the demand to make shipments in good time. Sometimes this pressure means marathon driving sessions. If you’ve been behind the wheel on interstate roads for long periods without break, you might be able to relate. Fatigued driving means the driver feels worn out and unfocused, and may even fall asleep behind the wheel. It happens with enough frequency on Washington roads that there are rules on how long trucks are able to be on the road. These rules are established by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which enforces what are called Hours of Service regulations (HOS). These rules govern when a truck driver may operate a commercial truck, and for how long. If a trucker or the company who hires him or her doesn’t comply with these rules, and an accident results from this negligence – regardless of the outside pressures on the driver – he or she may be held liable for damages.
These are complex situations that take a lot of negotiation and understanding of the process. Do not leave it up to the truck company to negotiate a fair claim with you. It is in their best interest to pay the least possible in what could mean potentially millions of dollars of liability if negligence was a factor in a wreck with one of their workers or contractors. Thus, trucking companies and the insurance adjusters work hard to reduce any amount they might have to pay, and have tactics, personnel, and other resources tasked with this very thing. You won’t get the settlement you’re entitled to without a fight. Hire a good lawyer, and they will take notice. Bill Coats Law is experienced in lawsuits of this kind, and does not blink at the prospect of fighting it out in the courtroom, if it comes to that. Bill Coats has conducted over 50 trials in his career as an attorney. Give him a call at 360-303-0601 to talk about your case for free.
The Hours of Service Rules impose a limit of 14 hours on a driver being on duty. Once that limit is met, the driver must be on a break for 10 consecutive hours before going back on duty. However, the assumption that the on-duty time is all spent behind the wheel, but that’s not so. Awaiting dispatch orders; inspecting, servicing or conditioning any commercial truck; border crossing; unloading and loading; and filling out paperwork are all considered on-duty tasks. That list is not exclusive, and there are other rules that apply; for the full text on the rules, visit the Federal Motor Safety Regulations.
Bill Coats Law is a personal injury law firm located in downtown Bellingham, Washington. Bill Coats has decades of experience working with accident victims, and gets results for his clients. Don’t hesitate to give him a call, and the sooner the better. Attempting to negotiate with a commercial trucking company in any capacity by yourself will result in undue frustration and a waste of precious time, as there is a statute of limitations on civil disputes. Bill Coats works on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t pay any upfront costs for his counsel. It begins with a free consultation you can find at this form, or by calling 360-303-0601.